Parachute Engineer Anh Nguyen poses with her hands on her hips in a white blazer, smiling at the camera wearing black rimmed glasses. “[My proudest moment] was deciding post-college what to do [in my life] and not asking for advice anymore. It’s one of those things where I love asking for advice but sometimes almost too much where I feel like it over influences what I want to do. And in my career, it was the same way. People would keep telling me, ‘Oh, you’re really good at this. You should probably go into this position, or you should try this.’ Now, I sit in certain moments and decide, is this a position I want to take and pursue, or do I really want to do [something else] instead? And then, if I fail or succeed, at least it was my choice.

“So, that moment, that first time [post-college], I realized I had built enough confidence to pursue and do things I wanted to do, whether or not it was something that other people could see me succeed at. I am the type of person where I can succeed at a lot of things because I work hard. I’ll put in my effort, but if I don’t have that interest in it or if it doesn’t align with my current values, I’m not going to get very far in it, and I’m going to be miserable, so I don’t know why I kept trying to entertain that idea.

“These days, I can still take advice from people but not let it totally dictate or control the path that I want to go down or the decisions I want to make because it’s my choice. Much of my path stemmed from my confidence in making the decision, filtering out the judgment of certain people, and realizing that someone might think differently about me this way, but does that really matter?”

– Anh Nguyen, Parachute Engineer, Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Image Credit: NASA/Glenn Benson
Interviewer: NASA/Tahira Allen

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Parachute Engineer Anh Nguyen